Raccoons can be a big problem for any homeowner, but property owners need to be made aware of their existence to rid their property of this critters.
Raccoons may love living in a hollow tree, ground burrows, brush piles and other such places, but they also enjoy the chimney, attic, garage, basement, or the crawl space under your property.
In general Raccoons eat both plans and animals. Meaning they eat the just about anything. And they really love our trash!
In the springtime seems to be when you will notice them more inside your property. One of the reasons is because they are nesting or raising their young, so they are extra busy and protective.
So what should you do so these are not your new, non-paying tenants, which will frighten off your paying tenants?
Prevent raccoons from getting in the chimney by securing heavy screen over the top of the chimney and use of a commercial quality chimney cap would be a good start. Even if the chimney is not used, you need to do this.
Any access points, from the outside, vents, fans, eaves, into the attic should be covered with heavy screen. I know it is a lot of work, but better to do it now than have these critters in the property.
Check around the foundation of all the buildings on the property, for signs of burrowing. If you find signs you may want to hire someone to come and check it out for you. Raccoons can be fierce, remember, they believe this is their home, and could carry rabies (in Maryland 60% of rabies cases are from raccoons), also they can transmit canine distemper and parvovirus to domestic dogs.
Trash and garbage is one of the biggest things that will attract these critters. Make sure that your tenant uses metal or heavy plastic trash cans with tight-fitting lids. I make this part of my leases.
By the way, did you know an adult raccoon could weigh up to 35 pounds? Typically they are 20-30 inches long and weigh 10-35 pounds.
I am rarely a fan of killing any sort of critter, so I will not recommend that. Removing the critter from the property can be a challenge, and you may want to hire someone to do that.
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has contracted with the USDA Wildlife Services to establish a public access nuisance animal hotline. Wildlife Service specialists are available to provide technical guidance or facilitate contacts with professional Nuisance Wildlife Cooperators. Individuals that are experiencing problems with raccoons or other wildlife species are encouraged to call (877) 463-6497.You can also find tips on how to avoid nuisance raccoons in your backyard on the Wild Acres website.
Raccoons are Furbearing Animals, same as with most other states, and may require a license to trap http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/furbearers/index.asp
Photos courtesy of National Geographic’s and US Fish and Wildlife Services
Information from Maryland Department of Natural Resources http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Plants_Wildlife/Raccoon.asp
Information from The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/raccoons.asp